There is a new stride in the ant-bullying campaign as 16-year-old Natalie Hampton has created an app that will help students find a friend or two to sit next to during their lunch period:
Titled ‘Sit With Us’, the app, which was launched on September 9th, helps prevents kids from being publicly rejected. The users know as ‘ambassadors’ create open lunch invites on the app, which signal to other users that are looking for buddies. “This way it’s very private. It’s through the phone. No one else has to know,” she explained to NPR. “And you know that you’re not going to be rejected once you get to the table.” Hampton says people are already posting open lunches at her school, so it’s a good start!
News of this new app reached the DC staff shortly after we saw the tragic story of a 9-year-old boy who took his own life after constant bullying. It is a horrible experience to be rejected in a crowded lunchroom, amid a sea of unrecognizable faces. Elizabeth Scalia described it in vivid detail from her own experience:
Sent to school dirty and unkempt, packing both a daily cream cheese and jelly sandwich lunch (no napkin included) and a rather shell-shocked, oblivious mien, even if I did not give off an actual scent anyone harboring a lupine sensibility would have picked up the vibe: weak and injured lamb here. Commence shredding and feeding. Over the years I’ve come to realize that the nonsense I suffered at their hands — being pushed on the playground and awakening from that head-hit in time to rejoin the lines at recess’ end; the ugly notes; the false invitations and subsequent jeering; the pack-mentality jostles and very cruel mockeries — was rather par for the course for bullies, who have little imagination and even less courage.
We are hopeful that the ‘Sit With Us’ app is successful in giving these children outlets to make friends and we are thankful to Natalie for doing everything she can to make a difference.